News / Africa

Chad, Sudan Signal End to Proxy Wars

The long-running proxy wars between Chad and Sudan could be nearing an end following a rare meeting between the two nations' leaders in the Sudanese capital. The enmity between the two regimes has helped fuel the ongoing conflict in Darfur.



Chadian President Idriss Deby met with his Sudanese counterpart Omar Hassan al-Bashir in Khartoum this week in what could be a breakthrough moment in the easing of relations between the two countries.

The two have announced that they will work towards peace within their troubled border areas. Chad has long-accused its eastern neighbor of granting safe harbor to opposition militias, and Sudan claims Chad supports certain Darfuri rebel groups.

Another round of Darfur peace talks are under way in Doha, although no breakthrough has yet been announced.

Most say that any potential peace arrangement in the region would require an end to the proxy war between Chad and Sudan. The talks are also plagued by deep distrust between the two sides and a rebel movement too fragmented to unite under a common position.

Whether or not the commitments from the two leaders will result in any immediate tangible change on the ground is not yet clear.

Analysts suggest that the sudden change of heart between the two leaders is due to the political realities facing each president in upcoming elections. Sudan's polls are set to take place in only two months, and Chad's vote is scheduled for 2011.

Chad, Sudan Signal End to Proxy Wars
Chad, Sudan Signal End to Proxy Wars

Darfuri Fouad Hikmat, an analyst for the International Crisis Group, says that President Bashir does not want to see the rebels disrupt the April vote, where he hopes to receive support from the nomadic Arab tribes.

"Darfur is the largest constituency after South Sudan. And therefore it is extremely important for [Bashir's] NCP that, if the elections are going to happen, it is going to happen in such a way that nobody is able to derail it by increased insecurity or attacks in Darfur," he said.

Many of those from communities supporting the rebel movements remain in internally displaced camps or are living as refugees in Chad. Rebel groups say such a situation prevents any chance of fair elections and have demanded the polls be postponed.

The strongest and most mobile of the many Darfuri rebel factions is the Justice and Equality Movement, known as JEM, which espouses a conservative Islamic ideology.

JEM's base of support arises largely from the Zaghawa people group, which straddles the Sudan and Chad border. President Deby is also Zaghawan, and once used Darfur to launch his own military campaign to seize power.

Khartoum is hoping that President Deby will be able to reign in his ethnic brethren within JEM. In exchange, Chadian rebels would no longer be allowed to use Darfur as a base for armed operations.

But Hikmat doubts whether the Chadian president has either the political leeway or sufficient control over JEM to fulfill his pledge.

"It will be very difficult for Deby to deliver to Bashir, and less difficult for Bashir to deliver to Deby," Hikmat added.

The April elections in Sudan will be the nation's first multiparty elections in 24 years.

You May Like

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs